HC Deb 30 June 1960 vol 625 cc1556-7
42. Mr. Edelman

asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint a Minister for Peace and Disarmament.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. The functions which I think the hon. Member has in mind are fundamental to the responsibilities of the Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Edelman

Will the Prime Minister consider rehabilitating the word "peace", and, in view of the great complications and difficulties of understanding exactly what is going on in Geneva, would not it be desirable to have this post so that ordinary persons may see exactly what the Government are trying to do in respect of disarmament?

The Prime Minister

We on both sides of the House have done our best to contribute to the search for peace. We have had our setbacks, but we have not abandoned hope. As regards disarmament, there is a very complicated situation at the moment. I have tried to explain as best possible the present situation. This may be a matter for debate. But I know the hon. Gentleman's real interest. I will do anything that I can to set forward what he has in mind. I do not think, however, that the appointment of a Minister other than the Foreign Secretary for this purpose would help us.

Mr. C. Osborne

If on second thoughts my right hon. Friend agrees to this appointment, will he see that the gentleman's first task is to solve the problems of the party opposite?

Mr. Chetwynd

The hon. Member is about two days out of time.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the failure of the Blue Streak policy and the failure of the Government, and of the Minister of Defence in particular, to provide adequate equipment for Her Majesty's Forces, could not this appointment be transferred to the Minister of Defence?

The Prime Minister

I am never quite sure which side the right hon. Gentleman is on. But this gives me an opportunity of saying that I ought to have given my congratulations to the Leader of the Opposition. There was a moment when I was getting quite nervous.

Mr. Callaghan

Does the Prime Minister propose to ask the permission of Mr. Speaker to reply to Question No. 46, in view of the lack of confidence in the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Captain Pilkington

Did my right hon. Friend see that, according to today's Daily Herald, the Government are now in a panic? Would he care to comment?